(This website is created by JC Fredlund)

Kasota claims the oldest inhabitant in the Minnesota valley above Carver

county, in the person of Reuben Butters, who erected the first board house in

the county in the fall of 1851, locating at the present town site on section 28.

Mr. Butters, in company with Geo. W. Thompson and James Lindsey, arrived on one

of the small steamers then navigating the Minnesota river, bringing with them a

sufficient amount of lumber to erect a one-story house. Of these old pioneers

Mr. Butters is the only one remaining, Mr. Thompson having gone to Le Sueur the

following spring, and Mr. Lindsey having left in 1855.


The township of Kasota lies in the south-western portion of Le Sueur county,

and is one-fifth larger than the other townships. There are three railroad

stations in the township: East St. Peter, on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis

& Omaha railroad, on the east bank of the Minnesota river, opposite St. Peter;

Kasota, two miles above on the same road, and at the junction of the Winona &

St. Peter road, and Caroline, at the crossing of the two railroads two miles

above Kasota.


East St. Peter exists merely in name, there being but three houses, an

elevator and depot. A strong iron wagon bridge crosses the Minnesota river at

this point, connecting with St. Peter.


The village of Kasota, consisting of about one hundred houses in section 34,

is about one-half mile from the union depot which serves for the Chicago, St.

Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha and Winona & St. Peter railroads. The life and thrift

of Kasota lies in the peculiar and handsome red sandstone which has become so

popular for building purposes throughout the North-west. There are now two large

quarries in operation, the first having been opened in 1865 by Reuben Butters,

who still owns but leases the quarry. The second is operated by a son of J. W.

Babcock. Both are constantly crowded with orders, and are the source of a

handsome income. Caroline is merely a railroad station two miles above Kasota,

originally called Lime.


It was not until 1863 that any organization was formed, the Baptists forming

a society in that year with twenty members, Ezra Miller being the first and only

local clergyman ever located in the town. In 1870 the Episcopalians organized

with twenty members, holding services every two weeks in the second story of the

school-house. The only church edifice in the township is located at Caroline,

and was built by the Methodists.

  1.  W. Babcock, one of the earliest comers, had the town site of Kasota

surveyed in 1854 by Folsom, and subsequently by T. Carter. C. Schaefer opened a

general store in 1854, and was followed by Reuben Butters, who still continues.


There are now two stone quarries, two grist mills, one hotel, one general

store, one blacksmith and one wagon shop and one saw-mill.


From 1854 to the building of the St. Peter bridge J. W. Babcock operated a

ferry across the Minnesota river. A post-office was established in 1854 with J.

  1. Babcock postmaster.


The first election was held on the 11th of May, 1858, there being sixty-one

votes cast. Town board—J. P. Buel; chairmen, A. Pettis, and S. W. Davis; C. A.

Shaeffer clerk; T. G. Carter, assessor; H. Morrill, collector; D. Birdsell,



Elizabeth Hunt taught the first school in a private residence having an

attendance of from fifteen to twenty scholars. This was in 1858. A substantial

two story stone scbool-honse was built in 1860. The attendance now averages

fifty-five scholars. There are nine district schools in the township.


A stranger whose name was not known was killed by a falling embankment while

excavating for the Babcock mill in the fall of 1852, being the first death on

record. A short time after Mrs. Pettis, wife of A. Pettis, died and was buried

at Lake Emily. Isaac Davis and Catherine Pettis were married in 1854, being the

first marriage. The first white person born was Clara Babcock, daughter of J. W.

and M. E. Babcock, in 1854. She died in 1861.


The cemetery in section 33 on the bluff just above and back of the town was

laid out in 1854, and is the principal one. There is a small cemetery at East

St. Peter, and one at Caroline both of which were laid out more recently.


One of the most remarkable crops ever raised in Kasota was in the summer of

1853 when R. Butters harvested 900 bushels of potatoes from five acres of land,

realizing for the entire lot $2 per bushel. Everybody raised potatoes the next

year, and they were a drug on the market at ten cents per bushel. In 1877 a

post-office was established at Caroline, and Conrad Smith appointed postmaster,

which position he still occupies, also carrying on a general mercantile

business. There is a lime kiln at this place. Lake Washington post-office is in

the south-western part of the town.


Julius Baker was born in 1849 in Cortland county, New York. In 1855 he

accompanied his parents to Minnesota and until 1861 lived in Traverse township,

then removed to St. Peter. At the age of eighteen years he began learning the

milling business; has worked in the mills at Minneapolis seven years, and the

remaining time in St. Peter and vicinity. In company with Mr. Edson he leased

the Kasota mill, which they are now operating under the firm name of Edson &

Baker. In 1877 Mr. Baker married Miss Annie Johnson. They are the parents of two

children. Roy is living, Minnie died at the age of two years.


  1. E. Boutwell was born in Montague, Franklin county, Massachusetts, in 1837.

His father, Charles F. Boutwell, was a cousin to ex-Secretary Boutwell, also to

the late Hon. J. P. Hale, of New Hampshire. Mr. Boutwell came to Minnesota when

twenty-one, and settled on a farm in Kasota township, where he still lives. In

1862 he enlisted in Company H, Fourth Minnesota, and after a service of about

one and one-half years returned to his farm. His marriage with Miss F. K. Moore

took place in 1869. Eddie E. and Grace M. are their children. Two have died.


  1. Butters, one of the three first settlers of Le Sueur, was born in 1816,

and is a native of Maine. At the age of twelve years he began as a clerk in a

store, and continued in the mercantile business from that time until coming to

Minnesota in 1851. During that year he, in company with James Lindsey and George

Thompson came up the Minnesota river to where Kasota is now located. Here they

settled nearly fifty miles distant from any white person, and built a small

shanty in which they spent the winter of ’51 and ’52. In February, 1852 they

erected the first house in Le Sueur, and in 1854 laid out the town site of

Kasota. Mr. Butters has been engaged in farming most of his time since coming to

this state. He was a member of the first state legislature and has since served

his district seven terms; has been county commissioner a number of years and

held several other offices of less importance.


  1. B. Carpenter, whose birth place was Brattleboro, Vermont, was born in

1829, and when four years old accompanied his parents to Ohio. He assisted his

father, David Carpenter, who was a farmer, until reaching the age of twenty-one,

then went to Worcester, Massachusetts. In the fall of 1854 he returned to Ohio,

and in the spring of 1855 went to Wisconsin. There he rented a farm one season,

and the following spring came to Kasota and settled on his present farm, which

is on the banks of Lake Emily. At Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1854, he married

Sarah Wheelock, a native of that place. They are the parents of two children:

Charles W. and M. A.


George E. Case was born in Manchester, Michigan, in April, 1841. He removed

with his parents to Ohio when three years old, and to St. Anthony, Minnesota, in

  1. This was his home until he enlisted in 1862 in Company D, Sixth Minnesota.

He was mustered in as sergeant, promoted to lieutenant, and was mustered out in

1865 as captain. He then engaged in railroad building; having a contract in

Texas he went there in 1870, and in 1875 went to the mountains and to

California, where he engaged in mining; returned to Minnesota in the spring of

1876, and has since devoted his time to farming and railroad building. In 1872

he bought his farm, which is situated on the banks of Lake Emily. He was elected

to the state senate in the fall of 1880. Miss Katie Hunt a native of New York,

became the wife of Mr. Case in 1869. The children are Mary M., Martin W. and

Mabel A.


Asa Cheadle, one of the pioneers of Le Sueur county was born in Ohio in 1824.

He grew to manhood on a farm, receiving in the meantime a good common school

education. In 1855 he came to Minnesota, locating in Cleveland township, Le

Sueur county; came in 1863 to his present farm in Kasota. He has been called

upon to fill all the town offices, and was county commissioner three years; in

1860 was elected to the legislature. He was married in 1846 to Miss Jemima

Witham; they have six children: Sarah K., wife of Richard Peel, of St. Paul;

Angeline, wife of N. M. Reed, of Kasota; Charles B., a resident of Cottonwood

county; Adelaide, wife of William Moses, of Kasota; Abbie and Lucy live at home.


  1. E. Edson is a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1842; in 1855 the family

removed to Illinois where they lived until 1860. At the age of fifteen he began

learning the trade of miller and has since continued it with the exception of

the time spent in the army. He enlisted in 1861 in Company B, First California

cavalry in which he served until 1863; was then commissioned second lieutenant

of the Third California; served as such until the close of the war. He settled

in Wisconsin and engaged in the pursuit of his trade until 1874; then came to

Minneapolis; in 1880 he went to New Ulm and in June, 1881 he, in company with J.

Baker, leased the Kasota mill, in which they are doing a thriving business. In

1868 he married Martha A. Smith. Their children are: Julia M., Edna V., and

Imogine V.


  1. L. French, deceased, was born in New York in 1807. There he lived until

1839 then removed to Michigan and remained until 1855; came to Minnesota and

located on a farm on the banks of Lake Emily. With the exception of two years

spent in the mining districts of Montana he resided with his family on the farm

in Kasota. Married in 1835 Louisa M. Stores, a native of New York. In 1877 Mr.

French died; his widow and six children survive him. Ernest died at twenty-three

years of age; Fannie is the wife of S. W. Pettis; Edmond M. resides in Mexico;

Maretta died at the age of eighteen; Willard lives in Murray county, Minnesota;

Enos J. lives in California; J. W. in Nevada and Arthur B. in Kasota.


Nicholas Kolbert is a native of Prussia, born in 1830. After attaining

majority he came to America and until 1856 resided in Iowa and Illinois. He then

removed to Minnesota and soon after settled on a farm in Kasota, where he has

since lived. He was married in 1858 to Miss Mary Klages, who died in 1865

leaving four children. John, Michael, Catherine, and Charlie. His second

marriage was in 1871 with Miss Christina Siderstron.


  1. F. Holbrook was born in Windham county, Vermont in 1822 but when one year

old went with his parents to New York, remaining until 1854, engaged in railroad

and lumber enterprises. Removed to Sparta, Wisconsin, in 1854; was there in the

hotel, livery and omnibus business, also carried the United States mails during

his entire residence of twenty-four years. In 1879 he located at Kasota and

built the large eating house which is generally acknowledged to be one of the

best in the north-west. Mr. Holbrook married in 1846 Miss Sophia Woodworth who

died in 1863, leaving two sons: D. W. and E. A. Mrs. Susan E. Britton became his

second wife in 1866. She had three children: Charles, died at seventeen years of

age; Lorin and Susan H. live at home.


  1. P. Hull is a native of London, England, born in 1828. He left his native

country with his parents when seven years old and emigrated to Canada. Commenced

learning the blacksmith trade which he followed until coming to Minnesota in

  1. His first home in this state was on a farm in Blue Earth county where he

lived six years, then came to his present farm on section 17, Kasota township.

In 1852 he married Miss Charlotte Woods.


Jacob Klaseus is a native of Prussia, born in 1824. On coming to America in

1851, he settled in Troy, New York, but subsequently removed to Boston,

Massachusetts, remaining until 1856; came to Minnesota and settled on section 7,

Kasota township, and still resides here. Married in Boston in 1853, Miss

Theressa Tower, who died. Miss Rose A Chedpun became his second wife. He has

fourteen children: Joseph, Jacob, Mike, Frank, George, Beatrice, Josephine,

Mary, Herman, John, Kate, Sophia, William and Leo.


John P. Koenen, whose native land is Prussia, was born in 1827. In 1853 came

to America and located in Illinois, but in 1856 he migrated to Minnesota and has

since been a farmer on section 15 of Kasota. Married Miss Mary Miller in 1857

and is the parent of six children: Peter, Phillip, Ella, John, Frank and Annie.


William Nason, Jr., was born in 1833 in Washington county, Vermont. With his

parents removed to Ohio in 1849 and resided in that state until 1855. He then

came to Minnesota and settled in Kasota on the farm where he now lives. His

father, William Nason, Sr., came about two years later and was a member of the

first board of supervisors. Miss Mariah 0. Holister and Mr. Nason were wedded in

1859 and have a family of six children, all living at home.


  1. L. Nason was born in Lamoille county, Vermont in 1841 and when eight years

old removed to Ohio with his parents. In 1857 he, in company with his father

came to Minnesota and soon after settled in Kasota where he has since resided

with the exception of his service in the army. He enlisted in 1861 in the Second

Minnesota and served until the close of the war, then returned to his farm. Was

elected to the state legislature in 1875 and served one term.


John Ofenloch was born in Germany, in 1843. In 1867 he came to America and

settled in Lake county, Indiana; three years later he removed to Minnesota, and

after a brief visit in St. Paul, settled in Ottawa township, LeSueur county for

one year. In 1871 he came to Kasota and built a blacksmith shop in which he

still does business. Married in 1873 to Miss Mary Menten. Henry, Emma and Louisa

are their children.


Alex Pettis was born in Vermont, in 1823, and while a child accompanied his

parents to Canada, where they remained four years, then went to Ohio and in 1835

migrated to Illinois. In 1855 came to Minnesota and settled in St. Peter; bought

his farm in 1857 and moved on it in 1865; three years later he returned to St.

Peter, and continued living there until 1877, since that time has resided on the

farm. Mr. Pettis participated in the defence of New Ulm during the Sioux

outbreak of 1862. Married in 1850, to Miss Louisa Davis, who has borne him three

children: Orange S., Mary A. and Cornelia M. Mr. Pettis’ father was in the war

of 1812, and died in Illinois in 1853.


John R. Pheeney was born in Ohio in 1855, and when eight years old removed to

Winona, Minnesota, with his parents. Was educated in the public schools, and at

the age of sixteen entered the freight office of the Winona and St. Peter

Railway Company, remaining until December, 1880; the last two years he served as

cashier. He was then made station agent for the Winona and St. Peter, and

Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railways at Kasota, which office he

still holds. Miss Mary Morgan became his wife in 1878. They have one son,

Charles  A.


  1. Smith is a native of Switzerland, born in 1817. In 1852 he came to

America. Until 1856 he lived in Illinois, then came to Minnesota, and has since

been a resident of Kasota. In 1862 be went into the Indian war, and when at New

Ulm, had his horse shot while riding him. In 1875 his fine set of buildings was

erected, and the same year the lime kiln was built. He was appointed postmaster

of Caroline post-office in 1878. Married Mary Swartz in 1860. Mary and Caroline

are their children.


David Street was born in Ohio, in 1841. When eighteen years of age he went to

Kentucky and there engaged in the saw-mill business until 1861. He then joined

the Second Kentucky regiment of infantry, in which he served during the entire

war. He went to Illinois and bought a saw-mill which he ran about four years; in

1869 came to Minnesota, settled in Kasota, built a saw-mill, and still continues

in the manufacture of lumber. In 1863 Miss Sarah A. Hite became the wife of Mr.

Street. They have seven children.


  1. R. Vernon was born in England in 1830, and came to America in 1850. When a

boy he went to sea; followed a sea-faring life ten years, and on coming to

America, settled in California. There he gave his time and attention to mining

and farming until 1859, then returned to his native country. After remaining

about one and one-half years he came again to this country and has since engaged

in farming in Kasota township. His wife was Miss Sarah A. Bland, married in

  1. Eight children have been born to them.


  1. J. Wakefield was born in Ohio, in 1828. Came to Minnesota in 1866, settled

in Kasota township, near Lake Washington, and in 1871 bought his present farm.

In 1874 he was appointed postmaster of Lake Washington. Was nominated

representative to the state legislature in 1875; although running ahead of his

ticket, he was defeated, as the district has a large democratic majority.

Married in 1851, Esther Skelton, who has borne him nine children, all are living.


James Warrant is a native of England, born in 1813. He lived there until

attaining the age of twenty-three years, then came to America and settled first

in Canada. He was a farmer in that country until 1856, then came to Minnesota

and again began the life of a farmer in Kasota township, and has since resided

on section 15. Married in 1832, Miss Margaret Kay. They are the parents of

eleven children, six of whom are living.


John Weger, native of Norway, was born in 1822. He came to America in 1850

and until 1861 lived in Wisconsin, then came to Minnesota; settled in Kasota,

and in 1862 went into the army; served one year in the Minnesota mounted rangers

then joined the Second Minnesota cavalry, in which be served until the close of

the war. Returned to Kasota and has since been a resident here; has been town

clerk for the past four years, and postmaster since 1879. He was united in

marriage with Miss Eliza Kennedy in 1860; they have two sons, John B. and Charles K.